- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 24, 2014

NEW YORK (AP) - The Metropolitan Museum of Art is ending a personal tradition for relatives of a donor who gave nativity scene figures for its famous Christmas tree, and they’re not happy about the holiday change.

The New York Times (http://nyti.ms/13vEAQV ) reported Wednesday on the crèche contretemps.

The late painter Loretta Hines Howard began donating the 200 18th-century Neopolitan Nativity figures in 1964. She, her daughter and granddaughter oversaw the annual arrangement.

The Times says Howard’s relatives were told Monday they could advise but no longer touch. Museum President Emily Rafferty cites a policy of barring non-staffers from handling anything in the collection. She says Howard’s descendants have long known the change was coming.

But Howard’s granddaughter, Andrea Selby, says they handled the figures carefully and her mother was “devastated” by the news.

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Information from: The New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com

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